writing about my life

The Edifice of Theology versus the Backpack of Science

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During the struggles within, as i receive harrassment or spiritual tuition from voices, many subjects cross my mind. One of the ideas that the spiritual harrassers want to make me embrace is that of reincarnation. The reincarnation hypothesis, for such it is, being not yet nearly confirmed by observation, seems enticing. The payoff you get from the belief may be as follows.

The thing that most strengthens us in life, that makes our progress most concrete, is when we learn. The purveyors of the spiritual hypotheses claim that in the cosmic order that is what we are “here” to do. The grandeur of the great wheel is that souls are progressing to mastery in a great journey of all, they say. If learning about life, ourselves and each other is so central then it at times seems tragic that we only learn such a tiny fragment during our single earthbound life. In comes reincarnation to say that we do actually get a stab at learning some of the bigger lessons, that represent chunks of knowledge too huge to fit in one lifetime. This makes humans much more cosmically dignified beings, and guarantees much more deep fulfilment through our existences. That is why it is a foundation of esoteric or gnostic religion that we live more than once. Looking at it like this makes us seem pygmies with just the one lifetime, catching only the thinnest slife of life’s pizza, with profound truths that would rock our souls perpetually out of reach, at death consciousness being voided stands as a huge cosmic waste. All the precious soul’s wealth, memory and experience, is unmade at death and the universe never gets to house truly wise beings.

So if wishful thinking is the main determinant of belief then reincarnation looks a lot nicer than the alternative. But I dont think I can buy that ticket, Steve. I believe we are living organisms made of matter and energy, and that death truly is the end. Thenagain Ive known a few people who did well on wishful thinking: they wallpapered the inside of their heads with gentle soft pink paper. The floral pattern was a great comfort to them and they breezed along in a strawberry daydream feeling untroubled by the heavy doom laden thoughts that my drive for objectivity bring me.

So like the spritualists I care about learning through life, and I hope I can get more than the pitiful helping of pizza to keep and enjoy. That’s really why I write to you steve, I hope to bed down the lessons Ive learned and structurally build the memories and experience into myself so that they are truly owned… truly mine to use.

Bill advocates forgetting the past. I disagree I love to chew it over and each time I do I isolate precious alchemic substances from it, which form part of my writer’s elixir. Reincarnation would just put this on steroids, turning me into some kind of super-being. You’d need whole libraries just to catalogue my life’s full story. How many lives might you get ? 20, a hundred?? or thousands. Do all souls get lots, have we all been around since the start of the stone age? that can’t be right because the population has been growing all the time. Right, so there are new virgin souls being born all the time to account for the increasing population. Ok, and what about timing, do you get sent back from the Bardo straight away or can you do like, one life in the 12th century then a long holiday and another in the 20th. Science wants to find mechanisms. When you inquire about the mechanism for this spiritual stuff it kind of puts you off. what is the thing that is you that survives death. Is it a gas? is it indestructible? It must be. I tire of the questions, frankly. I won’t believe. I am basically a clever monkey.

Science shows us “how” things happen not really why there should be anything. But to continue the attack, does everything have to have a mechanism in the first place. Well this is asserted because we assume philosophically that there must always be cause and effect. If something happened without cause then is it a Miracle? simply willed by God, and therefore instantly achieved? A mechanism is a how… it’s positing that the Universe is like a giant machine where energy cannot be created or destroyed, but rather perpetually transformed. One attack against the divine theory is that postulating a god is against Occam’s Razor. If you have a choice between two belief systems:



Universe plus God

and these systems are serving as tools to explain everything that is, then you should choose the simpler of the two because it is less expensive on assumptions. It costs you less to hypothesise the simpler because you go out on a less risky limb of gambling than to start populating your theory with unverifiable entities. If you just believe


then your life will be easier and you will save labour on constructing huge theological edifices to provide all the explanations for the


bit. Science seems to back up Occam. Its not a theory but a rule of thumb that can be seen to work again and again. One example is Ptolemy’s epicycles but I can’t be bothered to go into that now because I have a pile of notes in front of me containing things I want to say to you Steve. The margins of my text are not large enough to contain divergent strands laid willy nilly.


Written by Luke Dunn

January 14, 2015 at 9:42 am

Posted in Prose

Tagged with ,

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